Rear-end collisions can be more complex than many assume. This is because, contrary to popular belief, the rear driver is not always to blame. In fact, any driver involved in a rear-end collision may be at least partially at fault, which can complicate the claims process and lower your potential settlement.
Protecting your legal rights and ability to seek compensation for your injuries is critical after a collision. A rear-end car accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help you understand — and pursue — your rights under Florida law.
What should I do after a Fort Lauderdale rear-end accident?
After you have left the scene of an accident, there are three things you must do to protect your right to recover compensation:
Get Medical Care
Getting medical care at the scene of an accident or immediately after is imperative to recovering compensation. If you wait too long to head to the doctor, the insurer will likely claim that your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
Attend All Appointments
You must attend all doctor’s appointments and keep up with your medications and treatments. If not, the insurer will claim that you are contributing to or exaggerating your injuries.
Watch What You Say
Many accident victims jeopardize their claims by merely saying, “I’m okay” or “I’m sorry.” Insurance adjusters can twist these statements into admissions of fault or a declaration that you are uninjured.
For this reason, we advise accident victims deny requests for a recorded statement and stay off social media. One post or statement can reduce your settlement or bar you from recovering completely.
How are rear-end accidents different than other car crashes?
Many drivers do not view rear-end collisions as anything more than a minor fender bender. However, these crashes can be just as dangerous as any other type of collision and tend to happen more frequently. In fact, according to statistics from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions make up approximately 30 of all crashes each year.
The most common types of injury involved with rear-end accidents include:
- Whiplash and neck injury
- Spinal cord and disc injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Facial trauma
- Lower limb injury (e.g., knee, shin, ankle, foot)
- Upper limb injury (e.g., arm, wrist, hand, finger)
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Broken ribs
- Seatbelt and airbag injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
While some of these injuries are readily apparent after a crash, carpal tunnel, whiplash, disc injuries, and other neck injuries can be very difficult to prove. Our team will work with experts to establish your injury and its relationship to the accident.
What are the most common causes of rear-end collisions?
The most common causes of rear-end auto accidents share similarities with other crash types. They include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Aggressive driving
- Excessive speed
- Fatigued driving
- Inclement weather
- Dangerous roadway conditions
Any event that causes the front driver to apply the brakes suddenly — or that prevents the rear driver from braking soon enough to avoid an impact with the forward vehicle — can result in this dangerous type of accident.
Even in a low-speed collision, you and your passengers can experience significant injuries. Seek medical attention after any rear-end car accident, even if you do not believe you have been hurt.
Am I automatically at fault if I rear-ended another car in Florida?
No. When the front end of one car hits the back of another vehicle, most people believe the rear driver is automatically at fault for the accident. And yes, Florida law does presume that a driver is obligated to avoid hitting the vehicle ahead. However, if the forward vehicle’s driver created an unsafe condition that you could not avoid, you may not be responsible for the accident.
For example, if the driver backed up suddenly, cut you off, or if the front car’s brake lights were burnt out, the other party might be totally liable or you might share liability.
Note: If you are found partially liable, you can still recover compensation.
What are my legal options after a rear-end car accident?
Because Florida is a no-fault state, you must first seek compensation from your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Your insurer will cover 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages up to your policy limits.
If you can prove your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, you can recover compensation for your other accident-related expenses including pain and suffering damages.
Regardless of whether you are dealing with your own insurer or the other party’s insurer, you are likely facing an uphill battle as neither insurer will want to pay you what you deserve. Our team can handle the communication and negotiations with the insurer to get you the money you need.
How can I establish negligence in my rear-end crash?
To prove fault in a rear-end car accident, you must establish negligence by demonstrating four key elements.
- Duty of care: Drivers on the road owe a duty of care to other drivers, requiring them to use reasonable caution while operating a motor vehicle.
- Breach of duty: The other driver failed to uphold her duty of care to you, e.g., speeding or texting while driving.
- Causation: You suffered injuries and damages because the other driver breached the duty of care, e.g., by rear-ending your car on the roadway
- Damages: Your injuries and damages must be quantifiable, e.g., your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that resulted from the accident.
For you or your car accident attorney to establish these elements, you must collect evidence related to the accident to substantiate them for the court. Time is of the essence in collecting and assembling evidence to support your claims.
Get help from a Fort Lauderdale rear-end collision attorney today.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a rear-end accident, engaging the services of a car accident lawyer can help protect your legal right to compensation. The sooner your attorney can begin collecting evidence and building your case, the better your chances of recovering the settlement you deserve.
Contact the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine today to schedule a complimentary consultation and case review with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer: 800-747-3733.